Iconography associated with the FKD hate group, of which the criminal complaint against Nicholas Welker alleges he is a former leader.
Iconography associated with the FKD hate group, of which the criminal complaint against Nicholas Welker alleges he is a former leader.

White supremacist group leader arrested in San Jose after threatening a journalist

A Sunnyvale man who prosecutors say led a white supremacist group was arrested in San Jose last week for allegedly threatening to kill a journalist, the Department of Justice announced.

Nicholas Welker, 31, who used the online pseudonym “King ov Wrath,” is accused of posting a violent meme threatening a Brooklyn-based journalist on a forum used by Feuerkrieg Division (FKD), a white supremacist group that Welker once led. Welker accused the journalist of “stalking our boys for information” in his threat, which included an image of a gun aimed at the journalist’s head.

a black white illustration of a gun being held to a man's head with the words "Journalist Fuck Off!"
One of several screenshots of a meme threatening a journalist included in the criminal complaint against Nicholas Welker.

Arrested on March 21, Welker is charged with “conspiracy to transmit threatening communications” and faces up to five years in prison. He will face charges in the Eastern District of New York.

U.S. Attorney Breon Peace of the Eastern District and Michael J. Driscoll, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York field office, announced the charges.

“[Welker] sought to quell freedom of expression and to intimidate and instill fear in a journalist and the journalist’s employer — a well-known news media organization,” Peace said. “We will not hesitate to prosecute those who threaten the core values on which our society was founded, including freedom of the press.”

Welker’s threat, posted in August 2021, according to the criminal complaint, included the words “JOURNALIST F*** OFF! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED,” and included the journalist’s full name and place of work. “Race traitor” was written in white font on a black background covering the eyes of the journalist in the image.

After Welker posted his threat to an online forum, his “two minor-aged co-conspirators (who were also members of the white supremacist group) tweeted the threat directly at the Journalist’s twitter handle,” prosecutors said, adding the words “have you seen the new stuff we made about you? just thought id ask,” according to court documents.

The journalist’s name and organization have not been released.

Welker is scheduled to appear in federal court in San Jose on Wednesday for a hearing to determine whether he will be detained without bail.

The ADL’s San Francisco–based Central Pacific Region office is aware of Welker’s arrest and will be following the case as it moves through the courts, deputy regional director Teresa Drenick told J.

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The Anti-Defamation League defines FKD as “a small, international neo-Nazi group that advocates for a race war and holds some of the white supremacist movement’s most extreme views.”

The group “most likely” originated in Estonia in 2018, the ADL notes, and later developed cells in a handful of European countries and then in “Canada and especially the U.S.”

The Department of Justice said the group “encourages attacks on racial minorities, the Jewish community, the LGBTQ+ community, the U.S. Government, journalists and critical infrastructure.”

Another man connected to the FKD, Las Vegas native Conor Climo, was arrested on weapons charges in 2019 after threatening to attack the ADL, a Las Vegas synagogue and a downtown Las Vegas bar. Climo later admitted to discussing the attacks with FKD members. Climo was sentenced to two years in federal prison in 2020.

That same year, Jarrett William Smith, an ex-soldier who also was linked to FKD, was convicted and sentenced to 2½ years in federal prison for providing and distributing information through social media about building a bomb and making napalm, according to the Associated Press.

A 13-year-old Estonian boy calling himself “Commander” was identified as the founder and leader of FKD, according to a 2020 Associated Press report. The boy reportedly cut ties with the group after being confronted by authorities. According to court documents, Welker told the FBI in October 2021 that the previous leader of FKD had appointed him leader. In April 2020, group leadership “announced that they were disbanding the group [FKD] and urged members to join the National Socialist Organization,” according to court documents.

“Today’s action serves as a reminder to anyone willing to attack these rights,” the FBI’s Driscoll said when the charges were announced. “[T]he FBI will do everything in our power to fulfill our mission of protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution.”